Rural Health

How does rural healthcare different from urban centers?

 Watch “Life Support: Rural Healthcare in America” (1) - (14min)

Is there a physician shortage in rural communities?

 Listen to NPR podcast “Doctor Shortage in Rural Arizona Sparks Another Crisis in ‘Forgotten America’” (2) - (5min)

What is a hospital desert?

 Watch CNN video “Hospital deserts in rural American” (3) - (2min)

How are hospital closures affecting rural communities?

 Watch PBS News Hours video “Small Towns Watch Aging Hospitals Shutter” (4) - (8min)

How does rural mental healthcare differ from urban care?

 Listen to NPR broadcast “Texas Strives to Lure Mental Health Providers to Rural Counties” (5) - (4min)


Can telemedicine improve rural healthcare?

 Watch TedTalk “Telemedicine – The Answer to Rural Medicine Challenges” (7) - (14min)


How is this relevant to your primary care site?

 If you are located at Bassett Medical Center, the mean household income for Otsego County is $47,884, more than $10,000 less than the mean income for New York State overall (8). More than 16% of residents live below the poverty line, which is higher than the United States, New York State, and the neighboring Delaware county (8).  

If you are located at a Native American reservation, 25.7% of American Indians or Alaskan Natives are uninsured (9). Further, 26% of American Indians and Alaska Natives live below the poverty line compared with 11% of Non-Hispanic whites (10). 

If you are at one of the New York City or Stamford sites, this may be less obviously relevant to your current practice. But many of your patients may have moved from rural areas (in the US or globally), and some of you may decide to practice in rural locations in the future.


If I am interested in this topic, where can I learn more?

Check out Doctors Care video “Episode 3 – Rural Medicine” (11) - (30min)

This documentary episode interviews multiple rural doctors about their experiences and challenges in providing rural healthcare.

Check out PBS documentary “Remaking Rural Health: A KET Special Report” (12) - (58min)

This documentary explores the disparities and innovative approaches to healthcare delivery in rural areas of Kentucky.

Check out The Atlantic video “The Adversity of a Child’s Life in Rural Kentucky” (13) - (20min)

This documentary looks at a community in rural Kentucky, where most residents live below the poverty line. It focuses on the problem of rural childhood poverty, including hunger, health, and education.

Check out HBO documentary “Heroin” (14) - (88min)

This documentary describes how the opioid epidemic has affected the Cape Cod community.



1.       Life Support: Rural Healthcare in America. (2017, February 25). Retrieved from

2.       Siegler, K. (2017, July 14). Doctor Shortage In Rural Arizona Sparks Another Crisis In 'Forgotten America'. Retrieved from

3.       CNN Business (2017, November 27). Hospital deserts form in rural America. Retrieved from

4.       NewsHour, P. (2016, March 04). Small towns watch aging hospitals shutter. Retrieved from

5.       Silverman, L. (2015, September 01). Texas Strives To Lure Mental Health Providers To Rural Counties. Retrieved from

6.       Bringing Prenatal Care to Rural Maternity 'Deserts'. (2017, August 11). Retrieved from

7.       Talks, T. (2017, March 29). Telemedicine-The Answer to Rural Medicine Challenges | Linsey Meyers | TEDxUSD. Retrieved from

8.       2016 Community Service Plan & Community Health Improvement Plan. Retrieved from

9.       National Center for Health Statistics. (2017, May 03). Retrieved from

10.    Office of Minority Health. Retrieved from

11.    DoctorsManitoba. (2013, October 31). Episode 3 - Rural Medicine. Retrieved from

12.    Remaking Rural Health: A KET Special Report. (n.d.). Retrieved from

13.    Ajaka, N. The Adversity of a Child's Life in Rural Kentucky. Retrieved from

14. Lind, S. (2017, December 02). HEROIN. Cape Cod, (USA) (Documentary) - The Best Documentary Ever. Retrieved from